The Human Development and Psychological Services (HDPS) program explores how human development is influenced by family, schools, community and the workplace. HDPS courses focus on theories of individual development and family, group and organizational dynamics. The interdisciplinary program draws from current practice and research in counseling, personality psychology and human development. It also draws on the disciplines of psychology, sociology, gender studies, communication studies, cognitive science and anthropology to give students the opportunity to combine theory with practice and develop pragmatic skills grounded in a deep understanding of human psychology, growth and adaptation throughout the life span.
Real-World Practical Experience
HDPS students acquire knowledge, skills, and flexible ways of thinking and working with people and understanding their development. This knowledge is transferable to many different fields and professions. Frequently, students will seek their first jobs in community counseling centers, human services organizations, research studies, programs for youth, case management and human resources.
Following are examples of some of the organizations HDPS students have joined after graduation:
- Rape Crisis Program, YWCA
- Children’s Memorial Hospital
- Target Corporation
- Thresholds Residential Treatment Program
- University of Chicago Eating Disorders Research Study
- Teach for America
Flexible Course Work
In addition to core courses in life span development, research and statistics, students have the flexibility to tailor the program to their unique interests by creating an interdisciplinary specialization. Many students choose to double major or minor while maintaining human development and psychological services as their primary focus.
Courses utilize lectures, class discussions, assigned readings and written work, as well as clinical case studies, application of theory to interpret development, practice of fundamental counseling skills, participation in group processes, use of assessment tools and experiential assignments.
Many undergraduate students also choose to participate in research apprenticeships and independent studies with faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy. Members of the faculty conduct research in a variety of topics, including the psychobiology of stress, school reform, motivation across the life span, family systems, narratives and life stories, and youth programs.
Concentration course work addresses topics such as:
- history of mental health care
- understanding people in biological, social and cultural contexts
- motivations of human behavior
- long-term change in people and social environments
- how individuals relate to the groups of which they are members
- evolution of human services in the United States